Three-time Olympian Suzy Favor Hamilton made headlines Thursday after admitting that she worked as a high-priced escort for the last year, charging $600 an hour to spend time with clients. Who knew running was a gateway to prostitution?
The unbelievable story was first reported by thesmokinggun.com. A reporter for the website confronted 44-year-old Favor Hamilton in the lobby of a Las Vegas hotel. At first the attractive blonde denied it, before finally admitting she was, in fact, an escort.
Favor Hamilton's admission is even more astonishing given the fact that the former Olympian apparently runs a successful real estate brokerage in Madison, Wis., is the mother of a 7-year-old daughter, is a motivational speaker and promotes various civic and community organizations. Hamilton said her husband knew of her escort work, but disapproved (well, yeah).
Suzy Favor Hamilton © Jose Luis Villegas/Sacramento Bee/ZUMAPRESS.com
The story continued to unfold on Favor Hamilton's Twitter timeline as she apologized to her fans and tried to explain herself. In a series of tweets, Favor Hamilton said the following:
"I realize I have made highly irrational choices and I take full responsibility for them. I am not a victim here and knew what I was doing.
"I was drawn to escorting in large part because it provided many coping mechanisms for me when I was going through a very challenging... time with my marriage and my life. It provided an escape from a life that I was struggling in. It was a double life."
"I do not expect people to understand, but the reasons for doing this made sense to me at the time and were very much related to depression.
"As crazy as I know it seems, I never thought I would be exposed, therefore never hurting anybody.
"I cannot emphasize enough how sorry I am to anyone I have hurt as a result of my actions and greatly appreciate the support from family"
"and those closest to me. I fully intend to make amends and get back to being a good mother, wife, daughter, and friend.
"I have been seeking the help of a psychologist for the past few weeks and will continue to do so after I have put things together."
Favor Hamilton ran in the 1992, 1996 and 2000 Olympics. She is the winner of nine NCAA running titles, specializing in the 800- and 1,500-meter events while at the University of Wisconsin. She was so accomplished as a collegiate runner that the Big Ten Conference named the award given to its female athlete of the year in her honor.
During her career, Favor Hamilton posted five of the nine fastest 1,500-meter times by an American woman. But she struggled with a troubling aspect of competition. In an interview with The Journal Sentinel in July, Favor Hamilton described herself as a “pleaser and perfectionist” who struggled with the pressure to win and with “demons in your brain telling you you’re not good enough, you’re not fast enough, you need to be better.”
The startling disclosure of her double life followed admissions by Favor Hamilton that she struggled with self-doubt and an eating disorder while trying to succeed in a sport that gains significant attention once every four years. During the Olympics, winners are celebrated while losers are quickly forgotten despite putting enormous effort into their one moment.
In recent years, Favor Hamilton began to reveal troubling aspects of her career during motivational speeches. She told a Milwaukee newspaper that she hoped her struggles would encourage other troubled athletes to speak up.
It will be very interesting to see what tone and topics she addresses in upcoming speeches. My greatest hope is that her daughter comes out unscathed. How does a second grader respond when classmates accuse her mother of being a prostitute (or worse).
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